HOW DO I COLLECT A JUDGMENT I WON IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT?

 

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Winning the lawsuit is not nearly half the battle.  The real work begins when you try to collect on the judgment.

You lent someone $3500 and they promised to pay you back over time.  They make several payments, then stop.  Promises to resume payments “when things get better” are followed by “radio silence” in response to your phone calls and texts.

 

Understandably frustrated by this sequence of events, you sue in small claims court — and you win.  You now have a judgment against the defaulting party.  But how do you collect the judgment?  You’ve read about garnishments, levies, bank freezes and the like.  But what does that all mean?

Here is a good article discussing 10 tips on how to get started collecting your judgment.

Winning a lawsuit is just the start.  Collecting on the money judgment is the hard part.  You may want to consult with professionals who focus exclusively on the collection of judgments.

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING — PAST RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE FUTURE OUTCOMES

We are a debt relief agency, we help people file for Bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. This Blog is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney

Common Defenses to a Collection Lawsuit

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Introduction

If you are sued to collect a debt, it is important to remember that if you do not respond in time, a default judgment can be entered against you.

With a default judgment, the creditor/collector can  exercise various remedies to collect the judgment including garnishment and levies on your bank accounts.

Some Common Defenses to Collection Suits

How then, do you respond to a lawsuit seeking a judgment against you for unpaid debt?  Your answer will necessarily depend on the facts, but here is a non-exhaustive checklist of defenses you should at least consider and include in your answer, if appropriate.

  1. The debt was paid in full and no amounts are due and owing.
  2. The debt was discharged in a prior bankruptcy case.
  3. The debt collector is not the lawful owner of the debt.
  4. The debt collector cannot prove the amount allegedly due and owing.
  5. The statute of limitations has run and the lawsuit is untimely.
  6. If the lawsuit is seeking to recover a “deficiency claim,” the associated foreclosure was not “commercially reasonable.”

Conclusion

Don’t despair if a collection lawsuit has been brought against you.  Some collectors are looking for easy “prey” and many won’t continue to pursue a suit where the defendant has shown a willingness to fight back by interposing affirmative defenses.  Of course all defenses should be grounded in facts and law and remember that frivolous defenses may do more harm than good.

If you have a collection suit pending against you (or recognize it’s only a matter of time before suit will be brought), you will likely want to consider ways to respond to the action.  Call or email for a free consultation to learn the full range of your options.

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING — PAST RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE FUTURE OUTCOMES

We are a debt relief agency, we help people file for Bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. This Blog is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.